Asia Centre has expanded and strengthened its partnership into Northern Thailand following a visit from 4 to 5 August 2022 to Chiang Mai. During the visit, Asia Centre’s regional director Dr. James Gomez and Program Coordinator Nalinrat Tingoum visited Chiang Mai to co-convened several activities and discussed future activities deepening the Centre’s network with Northern partners.
During the trip, they were able to introduce the Centre’s activities and discussed concrete collaborations with a number of people and organisations including the Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University, University Academic Service Center of Chiang Mai University (UNISERV) and the Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab (RCPL), Payap University.
One stop was at the Faculty of Mass Communication of Chiang Mai University that has previously participated in Asia Centre 6th International Conference on Covid 19 in Asia: Communication, Nationalism and Technology. Dr. Gomez discussed the Centre’s work and explored Media and Information Literacy training for faculty members and students.
At a meeting with staff from the Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab (RCPL), Payap University, a seminar or conference to discuss Asia Centre’s reports on freedom of religion and belief were discussed. Created in 1995, the RCPL, formerly known as the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace (IRCP) is a sub-institute working with the Peacebuilding Department at Payap University on peacebuilding activities towards better inter and intra-religious understanding.
Potential collaboration on media literacy training was also discussed with Krith Karnjanakitti, Chief, Academic Services and Research Section, University Academic Service Center of Chiang Mai University (UNISERV). Operating since 1989, the organisation, under Chiang Mai University, provides academic services and helps in solving problems.
This outreach builds on a series of earlier meetings in Northern Thailand in 2021 and 2022.
In February 2022, Dr. Gomez and Dr. Ramcharan visited Chiang Mai and met with members of the Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University, the Faculty of Information and Communication Centre of Trends and Futures Studies from Maejo University and the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration at Chiang Mai University to discuss partnership on joint seminars in Northern Thailand.
Earlier in 2021, Dr. Ramcharan met with members of the Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University to discuss joint projects on Asia Centre 7th International Conference on Freedom of Expression in Asia.
The visit laid the foundation for cooperation on two fronts. One, it facilitated the Thailand Media and Information Literacy Master Training project between Asia Centre and Northern Thai Institutions. Two, on 25 August 2022, during Asia Centre 7th International Conference on Freedom of Expression in Asia, Asia Centre’s Dr. Gomez and Dr. Charoensri, Deputy Dean of Research Affairs at the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University signed an MoU, making the faculty an official partner of the Centre 2023 8th International Conference on Democracy and Elections in Asia. You can read the event article here.
Overall, the trip and meetings in Chiang Mai helped Asia Centre to build on its initial engagements and strengthen its emerging network of partners in Northern Thailand.